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Players want to distribute list of divers, which is hilarious 08.23.12 at 11:53 am ET
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Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban embellishes hits to get calls, just like a lot of players. (AP)

One of the topics discussed at Wednesday’s rule enforcement meeting in Toronto was one of the most maddening acts in the game: diving.

According to a report from NHL.com, the players attending the session — a group that included Jason Spezza, Kevin Bieksa and John-Michael Liles — “led an impassioned discussing on enforcing” Rule 64.1, which is the rule against diving/embellishment.

The players had an interesting idea, proposing that a list of “divers” can be distributed throughout the NHL so every team’s dressing room can have it and so officials can see it before each game.

While that’s a nice idea in theory, it gets a roll of the eyes from this scribe. Diving, embellishment or whatever you want to call it happens with every team, so that would be one hell of a list. Sometimes it’s more outrageous than others, but diving happens. Maybe it can go away with more discipline, but I’m not counting on it.

For example, Kevin Bieksa is leading the charge against divers? Bieksa committed perhaps the worst dive of the 2011 playoffs — and P.K. Subban certainly had some candidates in the first round — in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals in order to get a high-sticking call on Mark Recchi. But it happens. Andrew Ference did pretty much the same thing to get a call on Mason Raymond in the same series.

How much would a list really accomplish? Does any referee go into a Canadiens game unaware that Subban has been known to embellish calls?

Honest players do it and dishonest players do it. As much as fans want to think it only occurs with whichever team the home team is playing, diving is ubiquitous. Maybe it won’t be some day, but it’s prevalent enough these days for this “list” idea to seem laughable.

Read More: Kevin Bieksa, P.K. Subban,
Suspended Brad Marchand responds to Alain Vigneault’s ‘threatening’ comments, Kevin Bieksa 01.10.12 at 12:13 pm ET
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Brad Marchand answered back Tuesday. (AP)

Bruins forward Brad Marchand spoke to the media following Tuesday’s morning skate, making his first public comments since being suspended five games by the league for his low-bridge hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo.

“I’m obviously a little disappointed,” Marchand said of Brendan Shanahan’s ruling. “I wasn’t expecting as many games as I got, but that was the decision and now I just have to move on.”

Marchand had asked Shanahan for clarification on the legality of such hits prior to the season so as to be sure that he would not commit the infraction.

“I’m a smaller guy, I play low to the ice. That’s the way I’ve protected myself in the past and I just felt it was better to be safe than sorry,” Marchand said of his preseason inquiry. “I brought it up to him and when I walked away from the conversation he told me to protect myself was OK in that situation. When that situation arises I felt I was protecting myself and I was allowed to do it and that’s why I did it.”

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli expressed frustration Monday night over the confusion given what Marchand had been told before the season, but the 23-year-old said he now knows how to handle the situation the next time he’s in it.

“It’s clear that I’m not allowed to do that,” he said. “Guys in the league aren’t allowed to do that. They tried to make that clear and I’m going to have to do something else next time.”

As for the rule that the hit was “clipping” — which is the act of taking a player out across or below the knees — Marchand still disagrees with both the officials and Shanahan, who called it such in the video explaining the situation.

“We brought it up,” Marchand said of letting the disciplinarian know his stance on the hit. “Clipping is what I believe it says when you hit the guy at the knee point, around the knee. We felt it was very clear in the video I got him right on the buttocks and it seemed very clear on the video that was the case. Maybe he viewed it differently and at the end of the day he makes the call.”

Marchand also said that he took Canucks coach Alain Vigneault‘s comment that “someone is going to hurt” Marchand as a threat. He also responded to Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa‘s post-game assertion that the B’s play a “stupid” style of hockey.

“We play stupid? Yeah, we play stupid, “Marchand said. “I guess smart enough to win a Cup.”

Here’s the rest of what Marchand had to say:

On the team’s reputation:

“We play a hard game. We have a lot of physical guys, a lot of tough guys on our team. It’s tough for other teams to play against, and some teams may not like it but that’s our style of hockey and we’re not going to change it.”

On whether there’s a double-standard with other players not being punished for similar hits:

“I expect if there’s any more hits like this it will be penalized the same way, otherwise it will be a double-standard. But until we see more hits like this we can’t say that, so hopefully hits like this will be [viewed] and be penalized the same way.”

On whether he’ll change the way he plays:

“I’m still going to play hard. That’s my game, to play hard. At the end of the day I have to protect myself and so does everybody in the league, so that’s not going to change the way I play.”

Read More: Alain Vigneault, Brad Marchand, Brendan Shanahan, Kevin Bieksa
Kevin Bieksa calls out ‘stupid’ Bruins after win, says Brad Marchand ‘has to live’ with loss 01.07.12 at 5:27 pm ET
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Kevin Bieksa is at it again. (AP)

Surprise, surprise. Kevin Bieksa is talking.

The outspoken Canucks defenseman called out the Bruins after the Canucks defeated the B’s, 4-3, Saturday at TD Garden. Both Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand were tossed from the game, and Bieksa offered his thoughts afterwards.

“We play hard, but we are a disciplined team,” Bieksa said. “That’s what separates us from them. They obviously play hard, but they tend to do stupid things. The Marchand hit was a pretty stupid thing and I’m sure he’ll be getting a phone call for that one. There is no reason for that. But we made them pay for that. We got to score two goals on that power play and that’s the game. He’s got to live with that.”

Bieksa has been outspoken against the Bruins since the two teams met in the Stanley Cup finals last season. The defenseman made fun of the Bruins for passing around Andrew Ference‘s jacket, saying the tradition was something that pee-wee teams do. He also responded to Mark Recchi calling the Canucks “arrogant” by saying the retired forward should “take a nap.”

Read More: Brad Marchand, Kevin Bieksa, Mark Recchi,
Defense market gets thinner as Kevin Bieksa reportedly re-ups with Canucks 06.27.11 at 3:49 pm ET
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It looks like Kevin Bieksa feels that 29 other teams are just a bit too pee-wee for his liking.

Kevin Bieksa is staying with the Canucks. (AP)

According to multiple reports, the Canucks defenseman will not test the waters of unrestricted free agency, as he has agreed to a new pact with the Canucks, thus thinning the defensive free agent market.

TSN has the deal as being worth $23 million over five years, meaning the 30-year-old will carry a $4.6 million cap hit. It also reportedly includes a no-trade clause. Bieksa had a $3.75 cap hit in each of the three seasons of his previous deal. The immediate feeling here is that he got a fair deal, and that it isn’t exactly a hometown discount.

While he likely would not have been a target of the B’s in free agency, the fact that Bieksa’s name is now out of the pool means teams in need of help on the blueline will look elsewhere. That “elsewhere” is a group that includes Tomas Kaberle, Montreal’s James Wisniewski and Bieksa’s teammate, Christian Ehrhoff.

Bieksa led the Canucks with a plus-32 rating in the regular season, which put him in a tie for second behind Zdeno Chara (plus-33) for tops in the league. He  was among the Canucks who may have put themselves in a bad light during the Stanley Cup finals, as he had the dive of all dives in Game 4 when he grabbed his face to draw a high-sticking call on Mark Recchi, despite Recchi’s stick being a good distance from his face. He also joked about the Bruins’ postgame jacket, likening the tradition to something a pee-wee team would do.

Free agency opens Friday.

Read More: Kevin Bieksa, Tomas Kaberle,
Andrew Ference happy to share Cup with Boston, surprised by Kevin Bieksa’s comments 06.18.11 at 5:39 pm ET
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Andrew Ference had waited all 32 years of his life, including a devastating Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup finals with Calgary, before finally winning the Cup with the Bruins.

Andrew Ference is happy to have ended Boston's wait. (AP)

The city of Boston has waited 39 years. The fans win.

To be able to bring the Cup to Boston has been special for Ference and his teammates, who feel they can identify with fans now more than ever. It’s what they have in common, Ference feels, that makes the city’s celebration of the Cup even more special.

“I just feel like everybody feels like we do,” Ference said Saturday. “We’ve waited our whole lives to win it, and put in a lot of work and dedication and we finally get to raise the Cup, but all the hockey fans here have put in their hard work, too, supporting the teams and waiting so long. It’s amazing how many people come up and introduce themselves as season ticket-holders for x-number of years. That’s hard work. That’s support and that’s incredible dedication to the sport and to the team. Of course they’re as excited as we are, so it’s amazing.”

Ference, who took the Cup through Boston in a stroller, earlier in the week, said it was total blur when he raised the trophy for the first time.

“It really happened so quick, and even the whole time on the ice is just kind of a blur and busy. You’re in disbelief. It was great on the ice, but it was more fun almost in the locker room after to real savor it. On the ice, you’re really just hoping for a good picture so you can put it on the wall.”

LAY OFF THE JACKET

Ference said Saturday that his team drew no motivation from the lack of respect it received during the Stanley Cup finals, but did not that he was surprised that players such as Kevin Bieksa bad-mouthed them to the media.

Bieksa, of course, made fun of the 1980′s jacket that Ference bought on eBay for $35 — a hideous sight to any eyes — that one player wears after each game to denote the team’s most valuable player. Bieksa called the tradition childish, asking, “Don’t Pee Wee teams have that?”

“It just surprised me that he would say that publicly,” Ference said Saturday. “How does that benefit them? I don’t know. Even if you think it, you can chirp us all you want in your own locker room. Publicly, it’s just more surprising. I didn’t care, it doesn’t hurt our feelings. We love it and what it represents. Yeah, just to say some things publicly were surprising because it does absolutely no good for your own team.”

The Bruins got the last laugh, of course, as the Stanley Cup ended up wearing the jacket as the team celebrated in the visitors room at Rogers Arena Wednesday.

NOT ALL VANCOUVER FANS ARE BAD

Aside from a chorus of boos for commissioner Gary Bettman, the Canucks fans were respectful of the Bruins when they won the Cup, cheering as Zdeno Chara lifted the historic trophy, and getting louder for the likes of Tim Thomas and Vancouver native Milan Lucic. The Green Men, who famously harass opponents, even held a “Congrats Milan” sign. Ference said he and the Bruins appreciated how they were treated by the fans, and that the riots that ensued don’t typify all those who root for the Canucks.

“As much as bad stuff happened from some people there, there’s still some great, great hockey fans that respect the game,” Ference said. “You don’t want to taint everybody from what a few people messed up after the game.”

Read More: Andrew Ference, Kevin Bieksa,
Bruins-Canucks preview: Three keys, stats, and players to watch 06.06.11 at 1:54 am ET
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The Bruins have a tall task ahead of them as they look to overcome an 0-2 hole and turn the Stanley Cup finals into an actual series. Both games have been determined by just one goal thus far, and though the Bruins have played poorly from the most part, the first two games have shown the B’s can hang with the Canucks, even if they haven’t totally shown up yet. With the number three in mind, here’s a preview of Monday’s Game 3.

THREE THINGS THE BRUINS NEED TO DO

- Get better looks vs. Roberto Luongo and establish a net-front presence. We’ll say it until it changes, and it didn’t change enough in Game 2. The Canucks have been able to box the Bruins out so far in the series, but look at how the B’s scored their goals in Game 2. Milan Lucic buried a rebound from in front, and Mark Recchi redirected a shot in front of Luongo. When the Bruins were able to set up shop and do things from close range, the puck went in. It seems trying it any other way is an exercise in futility.

- Keep moving Zdeno Chara around on the power play. Recchi’s goal came as a result of Claude Julien moving Chara back to the point, but Julien should keep mixing it up when it comes to the Bruins’ mammoth captain. He still appeared to be a nuisance in front of Luongo in Game 1, so Julien should have enough confidence in Chara’s abilities in both areas to play him in different spots from power play to power play.

- Use the home crowd to their advantage. Whether or not they want to admit it, Rogers Arena was absolutely electric and had to have been a tough place to play. If the Garden can turn down the music and let the fans create an authentic atmosphere, maybe the Canucks can truly feel like they’re at an opponent’s home and not a wrestling match.

THREE STATS

- Both the Bruins and Canucks have seen four of their last five games be determined by one goal. The Bruins are 2-3 in that span, while the Canucks are 4-1.

- The four goals Tim Thomas has allowed over the last three games ties this stretch with his best of the postseason. Thomas let in four goals over Games 2 through 4 of the conference semifinals vs. the Flyers, though the difference is that the Bruins won all three of those games and have lost two of the three games in this stretch.

- Brad Marchand has gone four games without scoring. In the other two instances this postseason in which he went four straight without a goal, he scored the following game.

THREE PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

- Tim Thomas: He plays aggressive – the sky is falling! As bad as the game-wining goal he allowed in overtime Saturday looked, the reaction by some suggest nobody has actually watched Thomas before. He’s all over the place, and he plays farther out of his net than most. It will be interesting to see how be performs in Game 3 given all the heat he’s been under for his style this series.

- Alexandre Burrows: The Bruins have every reason to be furious that Burrows wasn’t suspended for Game 2, though they’re not showing it. At any rate, their No. 1 concern should be finding away to stop the guy who showed Saturday that his offensive ability (2 G, A in Game 2) is just as sharp as his teeth.

- Rich Peverley: Where to play the speedy winger? Peverley has seen time on the second line, third line and fourth line (and the first if you want to count him taking one of Nathan Horton’s shifts in Game 7 of the conference finals when Horton was banged up) in recent games. Peverley could continue to take some of Mark Recchi’s shifts on the second line, or he could skate with Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder, as he did from late in the second period Saturday to the end of the contest. If and when Julien makes a move to get Shawn Thornton in the lineup at the expense of Tyler Seguin this series, the line of Kelly centering Peverley and Ryder would make sense.

Also, don’t rule out Peverley having a target on his back in Game 3. His two-handed slash to the back of Kevin Bieksa’s knee didn’t go over well with Bieksa, his teammates or his coaches. Given the nature of the play, it shouldn’t have. Peverley really got away with one, and had he scored on his shot that followed the non-penalized slash, it would have looked even worse.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alexandre Burrows, Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly
Alain Vigneault calls Rich Peverley’s slash on Kevin Bieksa a ‘cheap shot’ 06.05.11 at 10:32 pm ET
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Upon his arrival in Boston late Sunday afternoon, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault called Rich Peverley’s slash on Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa in the second period of Saturday’s Game 2 a dirty play.

“Kevin didn’t get hit,” Vigneault said when asked about the Canucks matching the physical play of the Bruins. “He got a cheap shot in the back of the knee, so that’s totally different. He went down by something you don’t want to see in the game. But at the end of the day, we know they’re a big, physical team and we can play a speed game but we can play a physical game, which I think we’ve shown throughout the playoffs.”

Bieksa returned after limping to the bench and no penalty was called on the play. The Canucks outhit the Bruins, 40-31, Game 2 Saturday after the Bruins held a 31-30 advantage in Game 1.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alain Vigneault, Kevin Bieksa, Rich Peverley
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